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No One Had Helped Her
Since the day we had boarded the RMS Titanic, mother knew it was a terrible mistake. She never traveled maiden voyage on any ship, no matter how “Unsinkable” and “Luxurious” it was. We had first class tickets on a different ship, but we were transferred the gigantic Titanic. Our refunded money was only enough for two second class ticket. My mother was angry and scolded the man selling us our tickets on how unfair it was.
The trip, up until the 14th was like a vacation, for me. My mother refused to do anything except read in her room and eat in the farthest corner of the 2nd class eating area. Me being only 7, and not shy at all, made many friends and we played on the decks.
April 14th, I had convinced my mother to walk a little with me, to enjoy the magnificent ship. We walked down the desk, passing people sitting in lounge chairs reading and people chatting politely by the railing. We passed a row of stationary lifeboats, and my mother ran her hand along the smooth white finish. As we were passing the wireless room when a tall man stepped out, nearly falling over me.
“Sorry, miss.” He smiled at my mother, his cheeks a faint red.
“What is that there.” She said ignoring his smile and focusing in on the small slip of paper in his hand.
“Just and ice warning, miss, 6th one today. No need to worry, though.” He tried reassuring her after her face had faded to a pale green color. She grabbed my hand and dragged me back to the room. She shut the door behind her, breathing hard and a sweat broke out on her forehead. She hurried over to the bureau, running her hands over the bulky white life vests that rested upon it.
I didn’t see my friends that day, my mother insisted I stay in the room and read and she asked the steward to bring our dinner to us. After we ate, she tucked me into my bed, and smiled for the first time since we boarded the ship.
“Sleep well, my darling.” She kissed my head and turned off all the lights but one lamp. She sat on her bed, reading her second book, having finished her first one. I eventually fell asleep, hoping I would get to see my friends tomorrow.
I woke with a start to my mother shaking me. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and her frantic face filled my mind. I will never forget that face she made. She was yanking warm clothes out the drawers, throwing other clothes on the floor.
“Put these on,” she handed me some clothes and I changed quickly confused. She grabbed one of the life belts and slid it on to me, tying tightly. She put a big coat on me, reaching to my knees were my two different colored stocking ended. I wore my boots, a little to small for me, but I wasn’t about to complain. Fear swirled around me and I felt like crying. My mother slid her own life vest and coat on and she pulled me to the hall, were other people wore life vests over their night clothes or evening clothes. A few were bundled up like me and heading upstairs, but many acted as if nothing was wrong, but my mother was not one to overreact.
“Up on the dock and crowds of people from all different classes mulled about, huddling in small groups to keep warm. Life boats were slowly filling up, and my mother waited behind other people, she was also not one to rush to be first. As time pass, I noticed that the dock was tilting. My mother hurried up the dock, towards the bow of the ship. As we emerged from the large crowd, we caught a glance at the nearly submerged front. Green water edged up the dock at a slow, yet steady pace. My mother gasped and pulled me back up the deck, pushing past people trying to get away from the water. We pushed towards the front, only to find all the life boats here lowering or already rowing away from the boat. My mother gripped my arm tightly, running up the deck to the next bunch of life boats. Only one was left.
“Room for one more!” The crewman was yelling and she rushed forward.
“Please let us on, please!” She begged the man, hugging me to her.
“Only the child can fit,” he replied, glancing at the nearly full life vessel. She pushed me forward and I stumbled up next to the man.
“Out her on it, please!” The man nodded and lifted me up and over.
“Mother!” I cried, scrambling around to get out of the crowded boat.
“Stay darling, I’m going to get on one on the other side of the ship.” She gaze me a reassuring look and I trusted she was right. The boat lowered and as hit the water, I feared we would tip over. The stronger women and the crewman rowed us away towards the other boats now floating fearfully a little ways away.
That cold night, I curled up in a little ball on the small space I had on the floor of the boat, and watched as the floating palace pulled itself up, trying to be come vertical. People were jumping off the boat and more life boats had float out towards us. I knew my mother was on one of them. She never lied to me. As we watched the massive ship rise into the night sky, a terrible cracking sound came hundreds of screams filled the air. The boat snapped in half somewhere near the water line and the back of the boat fell back down flat on the water. The bow disappeared beneather the treacherous water. The stern slowly rose up vertical again, floating like that for a hopeful moment, before descending into the water. As the last of the ship was swallowed by water, everything was silent for a moment, before the most terrifying sound I had ever heard rose from the water.
Screams for pleading for help came from the mass out floating people, flapping about in the icy water, trying to swim towards the life boats.
Our full boat bobbed low in the water and the crewman watched in sadness with the rest of us at the doomed people.
As the freezing night wore on, the screams died down till it was completely silent, and the sky started to lighten a little. In the distance were the lights of a boat steaming towards us, and now the people in the life boats screamed. They waved their arms frantically. I sat frozen silent in my small space, wondering what boat my mom was in.
A crewman on the RMS Carpathia draped a gray blanket around me and asked me where my mother was.
“She was on a different boat than me.” I said through my shivering teeth. The boat was steaming away from the scene of most tragic event, the sun sitting peacefully in the sky, happy to not have seen the carnage that took place only a few hours before.
“What is her name? If we find her we will bring her to you.” I told them her full name and waited patiently for them to reunite us, but the day passed and we enter New York and no one brought my mother. I found the crewman and asked him if they had found her. He knelt down so we were eye level.
“Unfortunately, miss, she is not aboard the ship.” His sad blue eyes brought no comfort. I cried at we passed the Statue of Liberty. My mother had been one of those people screaming for help in the water, and no one had helped her.